Today’s reading’s may be found here.
You can listen to this homily delivered here.
Brothers and sisters, everyone is concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak to some extent, and of course, some are more concerned than others. I announced last week at the Mass that the Archdiocese has suspended distribution of the Precious Blood and physical contact during the sign of peace. I saw a meme on the internet this week that every diocese is instituting similar controls over the distribution of the Eucharist for reasons of physical health, but not one diocese has reacted as quickly or strongly to worry about the spiritual health of people who receive the Eucharist in the state of mortal sin. One such grave sin is to disbelieve what we receive in the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
In this morning’s Gospel, we heard the account of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus before three of His Apostles. What exactly was the Transfiguration? It was a grace given to Peter, James, and John to see Jesus for who He truly is — God made man. They saw God in all His glory, not just a mere man. This grace was given to them to strengthen them, so that when things got tough — Jesus being arrested, tortured, and killed — they would remember and believe that Jesus truly is God, not just a mere man. Even though one of them would deny Jesus (Peter), even though another fled and abandoned Jesus (James), one did remain faithful (John), standing at the foot of the Cross, strengthened by the Transfiguration he saw.
What about us though? When we come here to Mass, do we encounter Jesus? The host that is consecrated and the wine that is consecrated truly become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. If we do not believe that, we should not receive the Eucharist because, likely, we do not believe the words of Jesus when He said: “This is my Body, this is my Blood.” If we think that the Eucharist is just a symbol and not truly the Body and Blood of Jesus, then we should not be receiving it, because what’s the point?
I am sure many of us have heard about the devastating tornados that hit Nashville this week. One of the destroyed buildings was the Church of the Assumption. In the face of the storm, the pastor of the Church was able to retrieve the Most Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle. If the Eucharist is just a symbol, why bother?
The Catholic Church has the Eucharist, which by the grace of the Holy Spirit, through the words and actions of the consecration by the priest, transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. As with the Transfiguration, the Eucharist is filled with grace and given to us to strengthen us for the travails of earthly life and to bring us safely to Heaven. But, we must believe in it, else not only do we profane the words of the Lord Jesus who explicitly said “This IS my body — this IS my blood,” but we also restrict the ability of His grace to penetrate our hearts and strengthen us. The graces of the Eucharist are not magical — they must be received in faith for them to take hold in our lives.